There is alchemy at work in Katherine Jones’s studio. From observational watercolours and drawings, from her research and ideas, many rooted in literature, she layers, fragments, and imaginatively transforms these elements through the print processes. No respecter of the methods she understands so well, Jones is a deliberately low-tech printmaker. She uses etching, block print, collagraph and even hand cut stencils to slowly build her layered, and distinctive images. Her exceptional capability with process allows her to create rich complex surfaces, ranging from painterly areas of wash to clear and distinct line drawing. The prints are developed gradually in thematic series, and each has an evolving proofing process.
They vary in size from intimate to epic. Although carefully editioned, no two prints are exactly the same and many are hand coloured. She says:
“Paintings are a precursor to any prints, but the prints resolve the image; my prints, inked up, printed and often hand coloured, always very slightly different even within the editions, are the most concluded aspect of my work.”
She quotes from the autobiography of one of her favourite writers the New Zealander Janet Frame “From the first place of liquid darkness, within the second place of air and light, I set down the following record with its mixture of fact and truths and memories of truths and its direction always toward the Third Place where the starting point is myth”.
She adds: “The element my literary influences have in common is an uncompromising honesty that comes from lived experience; a tension between visceral brutality
and beauty; I am interested in images that represent a tipping point between
safety and danger, where the unexpected lurks.”
These tensions between security and vulnerability, familiarity and strangeness and our changing place in the natural environment are a central focus of Jones’s practice. As critic Rachel Essex writes: “The passing of time and how we experience it is a theme Jones unfailingly revisits, be it in relation to coastal erosion, shelters that seem impermanent when looked at closely or slowing down so one can look meaningfully at things. The work is both expansive and domestic but resists valuing one above the other”.
Jones recent election to the RA aged 44, makes her the youngest artist Royal Academician for many years, a recognition of the ambition and consistency of her practice, driven by her particularly rigorous combination of original thinking and innovative printmaking.
Brought up in Herefordshire, Jones studied at Cambridge School of Art, and MA Fine Art Printmaking at Camberwell College of Art, (1998-2001). She currently lives and works in Brixton, South London. Printroom has shown the work of Katherine Jones since 2006 including a solo exhibition in 2011. She shows widely, is the recipient of numerous awards and is represented in private and public collections worldwide.